Gone With the Wind

1939, Romance/History, 3h 42m

102 Reviews 250,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Gone with the Wind's epic grandeur and romantic allure encapsulate an era of Hollywood filmmaking -- but that can't excuse a blinkered perspective that stands on the wrong side of history. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Presented as originally released in 1939. Includes themes and character depictions which may be offensive and problematic to contemporary audiences. Epic Civil War drama focuses on the life of petulant Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara. Starting with her idyllic life on a sprawling plantation, the film traces her survival through the tragic history of the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and her tangled love affairs with Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler.

Cast & Crew

Clark Gable
Rhett Butler
Vivien Leigh
Scarlett O'Hara
Leslie Howard
Ashley Wilkes
Olivia de Havilland
Melanie Hamilton Wilkes
Thomas Mitchell
Gerald O'Hara
Barbara O'Neil
Ellen O'Hara
Victor Jory
Jonas Wilkerson, the overseer
Laura Hope Crews
Aunt Pittypat Hamilton
Ona Munson
Belle Watling
Ann Rutherford
Carreen O'Hara
Evelyn Keyes
Suellen O'Hara
Carroll Nye
Frank Kennedy
Paul Hurst
Yankee deserter
Isabel Jewell
Emmy Slattery
Cliff Edwards
Reminiscent soldier
Rand Brooks
Charles Hamilton
Sidney Howard
Screenwriter
Max Steiner
Original Music
Ernest Haller
Cinematographer
Ray Rennahan
Cinematographer
Hal C. Kern
Supervising Editor
William Cameron Menzies
Production Designer
Lyle R. Wheeler
Art Direction
Walter Plunkett
Costume Designer
Raymond A. Klune
Production Manager
R.D. Musgrave
Special Effects
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Critic Reviews for Gone With the Wind

Audience Reviews for Gone With the Wind

  • Oct 02, 2018
    A movie that's certainly worth watching, but it's hard not to be conflicted, and it's a tough one to rate. Positives: - Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh are outstanding in their roles of these two selfish people, who, while difficult to like, spiral around each other and deliver iconic Hollywood moments. He recognizes they're cut from the same cloth and loves her for it, she sees the same thing and hates him. A sexual current runs through their relationship from the first time he undresses her with his eyes, and she remarks "He looks as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy." Later he'll tell her "You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how," and it's clear without saying it when he helps her what he wants in return (after all, he's "not a marrying man"). Gable's character is perceptive throughout the movie, and he's an interesting mix of rogue, gallant, bemused observer, and doting father. - The filmmaking is extraordinary, particularly for 1939. There are exquisite scenes in glorious color, and the soundtrack is fantastic. War-time shots in the first half, like the horse and carriage escaping a massive fire, the one of all the wounded laid out, and the operation are memorable. - Hattie McDaniel is a delight to watch in the role of Mammy, the tough-minded servant who tries to keep a proper sense of decorum and the willful Scarlett in line. While some criticized her for taking a stereotypical role (similar to the criticism Anna May Wong suffered), this was the part available, and it was a step forward for her to take it, own it, and win an Oscar. Special favors had to be called in just to allow her to get her in to the Cocoanut Grove nightclub for the Oscars, and even then she had to sit in the back at a small table. I recently visited her simple grave in Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, where she was buried instead of Hollywood Cemetery because she wasn't allowed in to the latter. She was discriminated against even in death, and it's important to remember that racism and segregation weren't just occurring in the past, or only in the Jim Crow South. - There is a feminist message in the strength of the two main female characters. Scarlett is manipulative and shallow, but she's also tough and a survivor. She makes it through bleak times, shoots a ravaging Union soldier in the face, and at one point while trying to run a business "Great balls of fire! Don't bother me anymore, and don't call me sugar!" Similarly, while Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) can be almost maddeningly pure, seeing the good in everyone despite their obvious evil, she acts as an almost Christ-like role model. Negatives: - There is no point sugar-coating this: the movie, and the book it's based on, is racist. It perpetuates the horrifying myth of the loyal, docile, and simple slave. These smiling African-Americans have no interest in freedom, and in the few scenes they're in, they look simply like employees of Plantation, Inc. The character of Prissy is feeble-minded and helpless. The film tried to avoid controversy and be as neutral as possible, but what we see for the most part are essentially cartoons. - From its opening credits, the movie perpetuates a myth about an entire way of life, that the South was noble and filled with honorable people, and now sadly all of that is gone. Historically this is inaccurate, and morally it's outrageous. And yet, 70+ years after the war, this was the narrative, with a message diametrically opposed to that of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. The slaveholders are shown to be kind and thoughtful aristocrats, and it's instead the Yankee carpetbaggers who are portrayed as cruel and vicious. Deviations from the book are apparently rather modest, but one major one is Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) and another character no longer being members of the KKK; instead they go off to a 'political meeting'. Before the war, Ashley says that "Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars, and when the wars were over, no one ever knew what they were about," as if this particular war fit that case - being fought over for some vague reason. After the war, he says without a hint of irony "I will not make money out of the enforced labor and misery of others." Even Scarlett points out the hypocrisy, but it's as if this male voice, this Major in the Confederate Army can't bring himself to mention slavery or race issues. This is consistent with the shameful Southern apologia that has never truly been dissipated, recent statue removal notwithstanding. - In addition to my problems with his role, Leslie Howard does not fit here. He does not seem like a Southern gentleman from the period at all, and does not bring nearly the authenticity that Gable brings in his scenes of passion. In an otherwise fine cast, he is quite weak. - The second half of the movie is far too melodramatic, and practically a soap opera. To some this is faithful to the book, entertaining, and helpful to create an epic feel to it all, but to me it's overdone, and artistically sloppy. It also leads to a bloated four hour run time, and I think it would have been more powerful condensed. Summary: The film is insidious because the story, its characters, and its production value are all so compelling, and yet the background context is so toxic. Can we mentally set aside those gigantic elephants in the room, and forgive it? Is this like a romantic Southern version of 'War and Peace', where we note that in his epic, Tolstoy didn't write of the ownership and oppression to serfs? Can we see it as the viewpoint of a defeated secessionist country, and understand what de Havilland would say in an interview years later - that "All countries have experienced war and defeat. And survival. They can identify with that film for, I think, that reason." It's tough. Very tough. I can neither love not despise this film.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • May 03, 2018
    4/05/2018 - Gone With The Wind is the most overrated best picture winner ever. At the very end of the 4 hour long film the bratty and selfish Scarlett realises she really did love Rhett all along? Give me a fucken break!
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 05, 2018
    This is the ultimate film and one that will shine in Hollywood forever. The scale is amazing, the story is relenting and the characters remain true throughout. That classic end scene exchange with Rhett and Scarlett is amazing, leaving you with something iconic. The sheer scope of the film is a massive undertaking, I watched this in one sitting, not for the average film goer as it was four hours. Gable and Leigh shine in the lead roles, you are almost tricked to discover that Leigh is the front and centre actor of the film, classic Hollywood had the man as the lead role. I wish they still made epic films of this scope, the last I can think of is Titanic. We have traded storytelling for blockbusters and I think it is a shame, this has so much depth and character development that new films fail to capture. If you see one classic film in your life time, let this film be it. 04-02-2018.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2015
    Possibly the longest film I have ever seen. They don't make movies like this anymore. Very enjoyable and another classic to cross of my list.
    Ian W Super Reviewer

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